LGB 20480 – DR Class 99.64-65 Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotive (Former Saxon VI K)
Shortly before the end of World War I, the Heeresfeld Railways ordered 15 superheated steam locomotives with 5 coupled driving axles from Henschel in Cassel. In November of 1918, these units were at Henschel ready to be picked up, however on November 11, 1918 an agreement was reached on the Armistice, and these units with their 5 coupled driving axles came too late for use in the war. Since the Saxon State Railroad needed powerful locomotives for their 750 mm / 30-inch narrow gauge lines with their many grades, they quickly decided to take the 15 locomotives for a price of 92,000 Reich Marks per unit as the class VI K and assigned them the road numbers 210-224. Indeed, the class VI K units with their 5 coupled driving axles could deliver a good 50% higher performance than the IV K and with the side play of the first, third and fifth wheel sets they could also negotiate the sharpest curves, but they derailed rather often on the weak roadbed of the Saxon lines. Therefore, measures to reinforce and renew the roadbed had to be introduced immediately on the lines planned for use by the locomotives. On the DRG, these locomotives were given the road numbers 99 641-655. Since they turned in excellent results after the roadbed had been reinforced, the DRG ordered another 47 units that were delivered between 1923 and 1927 as road numbers 99 671-717 from Henschel, the Saxon Machine Factory in Chemnitz, and the Machine Factory of Karlsruhe. After World War II, 10 locomotives were removed from the roster as lost in the war. Another 14 units disappeared as booty into the Soviet Union, and road number 99 702 remained in Czechoslovakia.
Ten locomotives came to the DB, while the DR added 27 units to their roster. On the DB road number 99 651 was the last of its class to be given the computer-generated designation 099 651 in 1968. It was retired on September 19, 1969 and was on display as a memorial for many years at the former Bottwartal Railroad in Steinheim/Murr. This locomotive is a former "Öchsle" / "Little Ox" steam locomotive and the only unit still in existence from the first production series of the Saxon Vl K from 1918. After much effort, it was finally sent back to Ochsenhausen in June of 2016 for permanent protected storage.
Seven DR locomotives (road numbers 99 673, 678, 685, 692, 703, 713, and 715) were equipped with new welded boilers and water tanks starting in 1963. Seven other units (road numbers 99 648, 653, 654, 687, 694, 696, and 706) were thoroughly restored as part of a general repair program. This almost new construction also gave these locomotives a welded sheet metal frame. In addition, the drive was changed from the fourth to the third wheelset. A new feature was a vacuum-controlled air brake system. The DR was able to get rid of its locomotives after the massive decline of narrow gauge operations at the end of 1973.